How does a Business Owner get a Home Loan?

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By paying tax, that’s how!

The Rules of Lending have changed and this is having a dramatic impact on Business Owners wanting to borrow for a home.

It has not become any more conservative and credit policies have not contracted all that materially from 12 months ago.

What has changed is that lending decisions today are becoming increasingly more evidence-based than ever before. And they need to be, to be compliant. This then leaves very little scope for “exceptions”

What This Means for You?

3 things:

1.    It will be your “taxable income” as evidenced by your ATO Returns that will determine what you can borrow.
2.    How consistent your earnings is as important as how much you earn
3.    No amount of cash deposit or real estate collateral will have any impact on 1. and 2. above

Taxable Income

•    This is the key driver that determines how much you can borrow.
•    The lender will ONLY accept as “taxable income” what you declare to the ATO
•    If you don’t declare your cash earnings, neither will the lender!
•    If you claim all your travel, holidays, food, and household expenses as a tax deduction to reduce your “taxable income”, then so will the lender!
•    2 consecutive years evidence, no more than 12 months old
•    Where earnings are inconsistent, use the average

This is making it difficult for some Business Owners because “what they declare” in no way represents what it is they actually earn.

Last time they needed money, they only needed to “declare” an income, self-witnessed. Now they need to prove it and not just with some internal MYOB printout, but full and complete set of ATO Returns.

Business Owners need to appreciate that it doesn’t matter what you OWN or how little you OWE. It is what you EARN that determines HOW MUCH you can borrow.

For example, if you own $10 million worth of real estate unencumbered, but declared just $20,000 a year “taxable income”, you could only borrow @ $35-40,000 *.

*Assumes single applicant, no dependants, no other loans or financial commitments 20/10/10

How to Survive now the Rules of Lending have Changed

  •  Get Finance Approval IN WRITING BEFORE you go shopping!
    •    It’s all about “taxable income” so keep your ATO Returns up-to-date
    •    PLAN BEFORE YOU BORROW. If you intend borrowing, alert your Accountant ahead of time so that you can make financial plans and perhaps change strategy from tax minimization to income maximization for the next 1-2 years.
    •    Remember, once its down in “black and white” it’s there forever!
    •    A low “taxable income” may negatively impact how much you can borrow for the next 2 years.
    •    As a general rule, the higher your “taxable income” the more you can borrow
    •    So it may be in your best interests to pay a bit more tax today if it means being able to afford your dream home tomorrow.


For example:

Small Business A
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Small Business B
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Small Business C
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*Based on Citibank Serviceability Calculator 20/10/10. Assumes single applicant, no dependants, no other loans or financial commitments


What about Lo Doc loans?
There is much uncertainty and many conflicting opinions about the future of these types of home loan products, as they stand today.

Released a decade ago, these loans were originally designed to suit the needs of Business Owners whose financial records were either unavailable or not reflective of the current financial position of the business.
Instead of producing ATO records, the Business Owner only had to “declare” an income based on his own self-assessment of what his business currently earns. No further questions asked.
Depending on equity, today that same Business Owner will have to supply:

  •  Evidence of ABN registration 2 years
    •    Evidence of GST registration 2 years
    •    BAS Statements and/or Bank Account Trading Statements for the past 6-12 months

And will be charged more and be required to have a higher deposit than Business Owners who are able to borrow “mainstream”.
Talk to your Mortgage Broker

Speak to a suitably qualified Mortgage Broker who has experience in dealing with Business Owners for professional advice on:
•    How much you can borrow
•    Which lenders best suit your needs as a Business Owner
•    What products you should consider
•    How to best structure your finances
•    What documentation you will need to prepare, and
•    Making the finance application